UPDATE (November 2nd): LVP has confirmed the 2019 League of Legends tournament will be application-based.
Teams are now able to apply to take part in the 2019 UK League of Legends tournament.
LVP and Riot will host a Discord chat session with interested organisations on November 9th November at 4pm to discuss qualification criteria and answer questions.
There are more details here.
Original article: October 7th
LVP UK have denied rumours that next year’s central UK League of Legends esports tournament will adopt a franchising model.
This time last month, Misfits Academy won the Forge of Champions tournament for UK League of Legends teams.
Since then, while Riot UK and production partner LVP UK have been very active on social media and with content, but there’s been little news around what’s happening next on the esports front.
Esports News UK pieced together some of the ‘big changes’ Riot and LVP have hinted for 2019 League of Legends esports, but nothing concrete has been announced since.
We’ve heard from several sources that Riot and LVP may have been considering some kind of franchising model, however senior sources at Riot and LVP confirmed that not to be the case.
It seems they are not looking to franchise UK teams; they are still finalising 2019 plans. It’s likely teams themselves will be the first to know what this will entail.
What’s likely is that the league may adopt a ‘franchise-like’ model, where teams have to apply for a set space in the league, and there may be no relegation or promotion as such, but they do not ‘buy in’ with money or take a revenue share like teams in the franchised EU LCS or Overwatch League do.
“There will be a system where teams can apply down the road. The more teams on a European scale who have the foundation and followership and maturity, the better it is for all of esports.”
Mo Fadl, Riot UK, speaking to ENUK earlier this year
In terms of the application process, that’s actually something Mo Fadl, Head of UK Esports at Riot Games, already confirmed to Esports News UK a few months back.
When asked about franchising and comparisons to the LCS, he said: “LCS is at a completely different level, it’s for the pros, we don’t want to create an LCS here.
“Now with the partnership system in place where the teams are committing, it’s an open process; teams can apply for it and go through that process. There will be a system where teams can apply down the road [in the UK].
“It’s like in the NFL, if you want to get to the top, you need to have the qualifications to buy in. In the future there will be ways for teams to apply.
“The more teams on a European scale who have the foundation and followership and maturity, the better it is for all of esports.”
Esports News UK also understands that esports organisations will have to meet a certain criteria before being considered to join the league. This may include having a business plan, being a registered company, being competitive and having a professional attitude.
It’s believed applications will be open, so everyone will have to apply from scratch, including past ESL Prem teams. If the league attracts academy sides from big orgs like Misfits, Fnatic and so on, it could mean some of the long-running UK sides miss out on a spot.
Esports News UK knows that a couple of streamers like Gross Gore have been approached to get behind a team and apply too, though that has not yet come to fruition.
Qualification to EU Masters for the top teams is likely to continue to be the case.
This is of course all still speculative and not confirmed, so keep an eye on official LVP and Riot channels for announcements in the future.
What is confirmed is LVP is going to be opening a studio in London. During the last Forge of Champions split, the finalists flew out to Barcelona to play at the LVP studio there for the finals.
Read more hints at things that could happen in 2019 UK LoL here.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.